Dods has prepared short biographies of the candidates who have put their name forward to be the EPP Spitzenkandidat. The EPP is now expected to elect its Spitzenkandidat for the next European elections at the EPP Congress in Helsinki, Finland on 7-8 November 2018.
Alexander Stubb was born in 1968 into a bilingual (Finnish-Swedish) family in Finland. He graduated from Furman University, United States, in 1993 with a BA in Political Science. Following his BA, Stubb obtained a diploma in the French Language and Civilisation from the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1995, he graduated with an MA in European Affairs from the College of Europe in Bruges and completed his doctorate at the London School of Economic and Political Science in 1999.
During his PhD work, Stubb worked as a researcher at the Finnish Foreign Office and the Academy of Finland. From 1999-2001, he worked at the Finnish Permanent Representation to the EU as a researcher and was part of the Finnish delegation to the intergovernmental negotiations for the Treaty of Nice. From 2000-2007, he also worked as a visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. Following his work at the Finnish Permanent Representation, Stubb became an advisor to the then-President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and a member of the Commission Task Force on the European Convention. In 2003, he returned to the Finnish Permanent Representation as a special expert for the intergovernmental negotiations for the European Constitution.
In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament where he served until 2008 when he was appointed as the new Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 2011, Stubb stood for election to the Finnish Parliament and was elected MP, becoming the Minister for Europe and Foreign Trade in Jyrki Katainen’s cabinet. In 2014, Stubb became the Chairman of the National Coalition Party and was appointed Prime Minister, following Katainen’s decision to step down. Following the 2015 national elections in which the National Coalition Party lost its status as the largest party, Stubb became Minister of Finance but was forced to give up his position after he lost the chairmanship of his party to Petteri Orpo. Currently, Stubb is serving as a Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.
Politically, Stubb describes himself as a moderate liberal and is a proponent of deepening European integration, but not a federalist.
In addition to his political functions, Stubb has written multiple books and for years wrote a regular column for the Finnair in-flight magazine, Blue Wings, as well as pieces for the Financial Times. In 2018, he was nominated to assume the leadership of the Crisis Management Initiative, set up by former Finnish President and peace negotiator, Martti Ahtisaari, a non-governmental organisation that works to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Stubb speaks multiple languages, including Finnish, Swedish, English, French and German and is a self-professed sports nut, having completed multiple Ironman triathlons.
Manfred Weber was born in 1972 in Bavaria, Germany. He graduated from Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften München in 1996 as a Dipl. Engineer in Physical Technology and worked in the field, founding two companies, before fully entering political life in 2002 by becoming the youngest parliamentarian in the Bavarian state legislature and a member of the Kelheim District Council. Weber was the regional Chairman of the Bavaria Junge Union 2003-2007 and continues to be a member of the CSU (Christian Social Union in Bavaria) executive board and the Chairman of the CSU of Lower Bavaria as well as the Vice-President of the party.
In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament. During his first term in the Parliament, he was a member of the LIBE Committee, Delegation to the EU-Bulgaria Joint Parliamentary Committee and the Delegation for relations with Canada. Following his re-election in 2009, he continued in the LIBE Committee and the Canada Delegation, but also became a member of the Delegation for relations with India and the CONT Committee. In 2009, he also became the Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament and was responsible for setting the political strategy and the policy of the group in the area of Justice and Home Affairs.
In 2014, Weber was elected for the third time to the European Parliament and became the Chairman of the EPP Group. Currently, in the European Parliament, he is a member of the Conference of Presidents.
Weber is a Roman Catholic and is involved in in the Central Committee of German Catholics. Also, a musical man, Weber played the guitar and sang in a band called The Peanuts for much of his youth and early adulthood.
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